Ahead of the final verdict on the fiercely disputed Ayodhya land case, expected in a few days, the Indian Home Ministry issued a countrywide alert on Thursday. It came a day after the Indian prime minister appealed for restraint among people of all faiths on the expected verdict.
The ministry said that at least 4,000 paramilitary forces were being deployed in the town of Ayodhya, which has remained a central point of Indian politics for over three decades. The 15th Century Babri Mosque was demolished by a Hindu-led mob claiming it had been built at the birthplace of the Hindu God Ram.
A general advisory has been sent to all states and union territories asking them to deploy adequate security personnel in all sensitive places and ensure that no untoward incident takes place anywhere in the country, a home ministry official said.
Last week, the local administration of Ayodhya in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh prohibited the use of social media messages and posters until 28 December.
On Wednesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked his council of ministers and party leaders to refrain from making statements on the subject when he discussed the matter with them in a high-level meeting in New Delhi.
On 27 October, Modi urged his countrymen of all faiths to show restraint in the matter to avoid any fissures in society.
The government and parent organisation of the governing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have already reached out to prominent Muslim clerics and intellectuals this week, stressing that irrespective of the nature of the court ruling, there should neither be excessive celebration nor brouhaha over defeat.
The governing BJP in its poll manifesto during the 2014 parliamentary elections, which brought Narendra Modi to power, had promised to “explore all possibilities within the framework of the constitution” for the construction of the temple.
The apex court referred the case to mediation in March 2019 to find an amicable solution, but it did not yield any outcome, forcing it to adjudicate the issue once and for all.
A mosque had existed at the disputed site since 1528, which the Hindus believe was built on the exact birthplace of Lord Ram. In 1949, some Hindus reportedly installed an idol of Ram inside the disputed structure, leading to its seizure by the authorities.
In 1989, both sides filed cases in the Allahabad High Court claiming the land, which was the beginning of a drawn-out judicial battle, considered to be the most vexed and sensitive since independence in the country.